Today has been a bit of a day with one thing or another. A pleasant aspect of the day was our domestic help calling around with whom we always have a good chat and a catch up on family news. We then received a phone call from our University of Birmingham friend who we usually meet each Friday morning with the news that he would probably not be able to make our normal meeting today but tomorrow would prove to be all right. Nonetheless, we made our way down to Waitrose hoping to bump into some of the old faithfuls but it is was not to be and so Meg and I had coffee on our own. We then returned home and busied ourselves for some time before we set off for our lunch date in Droitwich. The venue which we had chosen for our lunch date we have visited before but the owners have changed and whereas we used to get really super food in the middle of the day, the offerings today were a lot more pedestrian. We got the cafe-restaurant just on time and our friends with whom we were going to lunch arrived within a minute or so, so this part of the day was working according to plan. When we got to the restaurant,though, there was a patron there evidently with a severe form of Tourette’s syndrome and she was vocalising all of the time – complete with swear words of course. I have seen instances of Tourette’s syndrome before which has been manifest by some sudden outbursts but not by a constant stream of loud vocalisation. I felt sorry for the cafe owners because at this rate they would have no business left. The patron has been visiting them some two or three times a week but today she had been there for a couple of hours, showed no signs of leaving and was getting constantly noisier and noisier. We ignored all of this at first and tried to let the noise of the disturbance drift over us but it was very wearing and obviously made the communication between us four friends difficult. So we paid up as soon as we possibly could and repaired to our favourite coffee bar which just happens to be around the corner where, fortunately, we could converse in some peaceable surroundings and enjoy some coffee and cake.
Our afternoon proved to have been disrupted as well. Our son is having some legal work done in parallel with our own but here complications started to raise their ugly head. My son and his wife have to prove their legal identities with recent passport photos and all of the other forms of ID demanded these days. Our joint lawyers suggested that we need to use another firm of lawyers to do this ID confirmatory work. So Meg and I raced into town to see the receptionist in our own solicitors to get a recommendation from someone else who get this work done expeditiously. To cut a long story short, we now have an appointment made to get this done in the foreseeable future at a price which suggests that solicitors are not poor. We hope that in the next day or so of working days (excluding the weekend, evidently) we can get all of this legal work done. I suspect that there is a massive national neuroticism about fraud in all kinds of financial transactions and certainly in the past year, I had been put through the mill to try to demonstrate that for our Residents Association, we were fit and proper persons who were who we said we were even though they have been our bankers for the past 12 years or so.
Of all of the political commentators on the present scene, I rather like Beth Rigby who often asks penetrating questions of our politicians. She asked Rishi Sunak today how did it feel ‘when you lose?’ Sunak appeared to not understand the question and was then flustered but eventually found his feet by repeating the mantra of the five or six bullet points he has been repeating for what seems to be weeks now. But I think the question is quite an interesting one because all of of us have to suffer failure (e.g. not being successful in a job interview) at some point in our lives. I suppose that for some occupations (and those in academic life) the question is particularly hard to answer because they have generally led a life in which they had always been successful. On the other hand, sportsmen of various hues always have to cope with the failure on about a 50% basis so I wonder if they can be more philosophical about the lack of success when it occurs. I think it was Enoch Powell, the eminent (or notorious) maverick right wing Tory politician who is said to have uttered the phrase that ‘All political careers end in failure.’ But what he actually said was somewhat more nuanced than this when he wrote ‘All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.’ But it is interesting to ask the question how any one of us mere mortals copes with failure – after all, success is easy to cope with but failure is another matter.